Are you looking for the best new cafes, restaurants, and bars in Marin? We’ve got you covered. Here’s our list for the best new places to eat around town.
Ranch Water opened its remodeled San Rafael location, bringing new entertainment, music and tequila-forward cocktails to Fourth Street. Ranch Water was created by mixologist Johnny Metheny, AKA Johnny Love. Beyond tequila, Ranch Water boasts a full bar and more than a few TVs to catch your favorite sports. Look forward to weekly events like Margarita Mondays, karaoke on Wednesdays and live music Thursday and Saturday nights.
“Ranch Water is more than a bar; it’s an experience,” said Johnny Love. “We’re bringing the spirit of San Francisco’s nightlife to San Rafael, blending tequila craftsmanship with sports, music, and good times.”
711 4th St, San Rafael; 415.785.4957
Founded by a group of friends with a passion for boba tea, oddcha sells all things bubble tea at their non-traditional tea station. An extensive menu includes lattes, matcha, fresh fruit smoothies and milk teas. Situated in a Victorian house on Irwin St., their handy pickup window is just past an ornate arch to the “French Quarter” courtyard. And with delivery, pickup and online ordering options, oddcha offers convenience while providing high-quality boba with fresh ingredients.
905f Irwin St, San Rafael; 415.720.1195
In the heart of Mill Valley’s Tam Junction, you can find the crossroads of community and coffee at upside. Partnered with San Francisco coffee roasters Lady Falcon Coffee Club, upside brings delicious coffee while cultivating a gathering place for people and experiences. Sip a cappuccino while enjoying some of upside’s regular events like Doggy Days, one regular event where patrons are invited to bring their pups to the cafe.
215 Shoreline Hwy, Mill Valley
Bringing together traditional Chinese with California influences, chef-owner Wing Pak designed a menu of Mongolian beef, orange chicken and crispy rainbow steak. The menu is an evolution for Pak, who cooked at Morimoto and San Francisco’s Michael Mina before opening in August in San Rafael. A dim sum menu is in the works as are plans for a monthly brunch “pop up” with Peking duck and other delicacies.
817 Francisco Blvd W, San Rafael; 415.492.1638
After 15 years at Sausalito’s Osteria Divino, chef Elena Fabbri, who grew up in the restaurant business in Tuscany, decided that focaccia sandwiches with porchetta would be her niche, launching a catering company that highlighted the dish in 2017. (Her husband, Gustavo Mutul, runs Pibil, serving Mexican and Italian pork tacos and sandwiches at the San Rafael Sunday farmers’ market.) Cooked on the in-house rotisserie, pork belly is cut right at the ribs to remove the loin. It’s a one-two punch that makes Fabbri’s porchetta juicy, crispy, irresisitible. Fabbri’s full-service restaurant, which opened last spring, leans into Tuscan flavors with a complete menu of antipasti, primi and secondi. The porchetta — on a sandwich at lunch, with eggs at brunch, with Brussels sprouts and roasted squash at dinner – is destination dining-worthy.
123 Bolinas Rd., Fairfax; 415.419.5465
After opening a brewpub in Fairfax last spring, the Santa Rosa-based beer brand planted a taproom in Novato in October. The 10 taps feature the brand’s offerings — Incredible Pale Ale, Cascade Smash, Stoked, etc. — and a steady rotation of food trucks provide eats in the breezeway-turned-beer garden. According to CEO Collin McDonnell, local music on vinyl is important to the team, so expect to hear pretty much anything made in NorCal and beyond, with records sourced from neighbor Watts Music. The music is a part of the community vibe that McDonnell wants to build, with custom-built 8×8 record art in the breezeway. “We have an emphasis on community togetherness,” he says.
1301 Grant Ave., Novato; 707.757.7699
Margaret and David Ruiz, who run Stillwater in Fairfax and Souvenir (with Dylan Jones) in San Anselmo are at it again, opening a wine bar and lounge in San Anselmo’s Cheda Building in December. “Where Souvenir focuses on retail, Voyage is a place where you can sit down and enjoy wine,” says David. In partnership with Matthew Conway, the space, which does not have a traditional kitchen, will not focus on natural wines or have a specific geographic focus but will pay attention to minimal intervention wines available by the glass and bottle. The opening menu from chef Cameron Myers includes a mortadella hoagie, beef tartare and a Little Gem salad, in addition to meat and cheese plates and a Gilda pintxo. Look for more bar foods, tartares and crudos to enjoy at the bar, on the rail in the window, or at one of the lounges in front of the fireplace. A low-ABV cocktail program featuring sherry and vermouth, spritzes and other drinks will be available soon.
500 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo
In March, 2021, New York Times food writer Tejal Rao famously called California’s bagels better than New York’s. The article put Emily Winston’s Berkeley bagel shop on the map and she’s never looked back. The freshest shop in the burgeoning Bay Area sandwich chain landed in downtown Larkspur in November with all the lox and schmears. There’s even Sanka for the diehard Boomer New Yorkers among us.
238 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur
Tiburon, quickly becoming a destination for wine bars, welcomed another at the Fleming House on Ark Row in June. Owners and Marin natives Joe Welch and Zach Feinberg, who have known each other since high school, feature more than 24 different wines from all over the world, all made by winemaker Matt Smith. Taste by the glass or six-wine tasting flight or grab a 187 ml mini bottle or a 750 ml bottle to drink later.
72 Main St, Tiburon; 415.889.5042
No, the cafe is not new — owner Erin Miwa’s parents first opened in 1986. But a remodel of the full-service restaurant was recently completed. Wooden shelves above distressed leather booths mimic a mantle where Miwa placed family keepsakes. Pastel blue textured wallpaper has a cloud-like look. Pendant lamps over the bar give counter space a cozy feel. And the space towards the rear with two booths is almost like a library or study. “The idea was to go back to what my dad’s vision was, to serve the local community and be like a second home for people,” Miwa says. Up next: a revamp of the takeout area to streamline service.
335 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo; 415.454.9840
More than two years after receiving approvals and now run by the second generation of Servinos — brothers Natale and Vittorio — along with their parents, Servino returned to its original location on Tiburon’s Ark Row in late September. The trattoria is back in its original ark, where it operated from 1977–1999, with the same cozy vibe and bespoke window details. The new enoteca/wine bar steps into the yellow ark with a few indoor tables, a wraparound bar and a heated patio. “We always loved the way the two spaces communicate with each other with a breezeway connecting them and garden patio at the yellow ark,” says Natale. “We wanted to activate them together.”
Chef and cousin Massimo Covello is back at the stoves, cooking up California fresh fare which tilts southern Italian. The heart of the menu is the house made pasta program, such as chicken liver-stuffed mezzaluna pasta in a mushroom sauce or pappardelle with an eight-hour beef ragu. A crudi menu — halibut with mango chutney, carpaccio with rolled beef, arugula, and truffle oil– is listed alongside dishes that have carried over from the previous menu such as are roasted half chicken a jus with herbs and broccolini. Seasonal cocktails from returning lead bar tender, José Valdiviezo, like a spritz with house made limoncello or a white Negroni with gin made on the Amalfi Coast, lean into old world flavor. Enjoy one, or a glass from the extensive list of Italian wines, when the enoteca opens at 4 p.m. The brothers, who also run Caffe Acri down the street, will continue the dinner program at that location, too.
114–116 Main St, Tiburon; 415.435.2676.
Chef Christopher Kostow, who earned three Michelin stars at The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley, revives his family’s pre-Ellis Island family name at a “Jew-ish” deli at Larkspur’s Marin Country Mart. As “Koslovski” became “Loveski,” so, too, does the menu reimagine flavor to consider the Thai heritage of Kostow’s wife and business partner, Martina. Like the original in Napa, handmade sourdough bagels, house-made pickles, and house-cured and smoked meats are present in corned beef and Swiss or pastrami and cole slaw sandwiches, while the matzo ball soup is flavored with lemongrass and chiles. The all-day café has indoor-outdoor seating, a grab-n-go fridge, coffee and wine, too.
1813 Larkspur Landing Cir, Suite 18, Larkspur.
The space that formerly housed Bootjack Woodfired, Tartine Bakery and Small Shed Flatbreads is once again a bakery. Chef and Mill Valley resident Nicola Carey and business partner Gemma Edward Aron opened their bakery and café in mid-September. The built-in, wood-fired Alan Scott oven, affectionately nicknamed Elvira, is responsible for the burnished crust on sourdough bread, baguettes, pain d’epis (a pull-apart bread), and roast chicken. The opening menu includes coffee and tea, a range of pastries — kouign amann and morning buns, lemon meringue croissants and pain au chocolat — cookies, and a snack board. An expanded menu, expected in December, includes a wine and beer menu focusing on local, natural, female led wineries. A lunch menu of tartines (smashed avocado with almond drizzle and Aleppo pepper), sandwiches (slow-braised pork shoulder, pickled shallots, salsa verde and Little Gems on focaccia), and salads (chicories, shaved fennel, parmesan, apple, toasted seeds and sherry mustard vinaigrette), will be available after 11 a.m.
17 Madrona St, Mill Valley; 415.915.9120.
After opening the first location in San Francisco in May, Bay Area businessman and Yemen native Sadeq Alaqel is set to open a café in downtown San Rafael in November, featuring authentic Yemeni coffees and Adani tea seasoned with cardamom, ginger and cinnamon. Lattes, cappuccinos and other coffee styles, as well as pastries and traditional Yemeni sweets, will also be available. “I love to share my motherland country coffee (sic) that originated in Yemen during the 14th century,” Alaquel says.
1146 4th St, San Rafael.
Brothers and business partners Pierre and Sebastien Lauga, along with Boulangerie restaurateur Pascal Rigo and Utah’s Central Milling, stepped in as owners at Loving Cup in Greenbrae’s Bon Air Center, adding pizza to the menu earlier this fall. Organic sauce and crust on a range of quick-serve pizzas (Margherita, barbecue chicken, build your own and a seasonal style) are ready in minutes. A gluten-free crust and dairy-free cheese are available. Loving Cup’s organic yogurt range also expanded to include non-dairy and banana base flavors, in addition to 15 pre-mixed flavors. A range of toppings and mix-ins is available.
298 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae.
What began as a series of pandemic pop-ups for quesabirria and tacos in a San Rafael alley morphed into Betzy Decker’s restaurant in July. Next door to Moonlight Deli (which Decker also owns), the taqueria serves a regional mix of dishes that nods to her Guatemalan heritage and her husband, Domingo Cruz’s, Mexican background. House made corn tortillas are a soft underpinning for street style carne asada and al pastor tacos. Picaditas — blue corn tortilla topped with fried beans and queso fresco — are thinner than a sope so you can taste the texture of the tortilla. There’s even a pizzabirria, a large flour tortilla with three layers of cheese, meat and cilantro onions and La Mamasota (a big pupusa) which serve eight. Though there is no alcohol served, “the cocktel tamarindo is from a friend who is Colombian,” Decker says. Look for tamales to appear on the menu during the holiday season.
1815 Fourth St, Suite 6, San Rafael; 415.720.2306.
Christina Mueller is a long-time Bay Area food writer. She hails from the East Coast and has spent way too much time in South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract Publishing, Sunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her childrens’ schools, and supports the Marin Audubon Society, PEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.